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Ceres Relay for Life event gains steam

Editor, Ceres Courier,

This past weekend. March 19, we held our third annual Ceres Relay for Life Hoedown, a dinner-dance event that this year featured a car and bike show. We had roughly 300 people in attendance that enjoyed amazing ribs, tri tip and chicken cooked by the Ceres Lions Club. Our event was held at a private venue in Turlock that could only be described as the "ultimate car lover's dream." The centerpiece of our event had to be the amazing rustic, country decorations that Shella Joiner of Sharky and Mella's Custom Décor and Rentals, so graciously provided. During the course of the night we awarded seven various car show awards, which were trophies handcrafted from car parts. Each trophy was equipped with a custom trophy plate, provided by Embroidery Plus.

Also during the event, we offered approximately 100 raffle and silent auction items, and an incredibly popular Gun Raffle. We also auctioned about 10 guns that were all provided by Bilson's Sports Shop in Turlock.

Incredible five-star quality drinks were served up by former Ceres resident Lupe Jaques and entertainment was provided by deejay Liquid, who offered the utmost professional services.

The Ceres Relay for Life Committee set a goal for this year's "Hoedown" event at $15,000, which, we surpassed with ease. Our event profited just over $20,000!

I would like to thank all of the local businesses and families that donated items and services.

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite anyone who hasn't yet, to join our Ceres Relay for Life. This year we are down on participation. But as they say, "we may be small, but we are mighty!" All are welcome to start their own team, or join a team. You can go to, search for the Ceres, California event and click either "join a team" or "start a team."

Our event this year will be held at the Ceres High School football field on Saturday, April 30. It is a 15-hour event, starting at 9 a.m. Everyone is welcome to come out, whether you're a team member or not. At this event, our teams will each offer different items for sale or raffle. A team member from each team is encouraged to be on the track, (typically alternating with other team members every 30 to 60 minutes) during the duration of the 15 hours.

During the 8 p.m. hour, we ask all team members to clear the track while we begin our Luminaria Ceremony. This ceremony is the time where we all really come together to honor those fighting and remember those we've lost. We turn off all the stadium lights and line the track with hundreds of candlelit memorialized bags, each dedicated to a friend or family member battling or who has battled cancer. The ceremony also features a slide show of pictures of our angels and heroes. The Luminaria ceremony is then honored with a remembrance lap, led by a beautiful bagpipe procession.

Again, I would like to invite all to join us in the fight against this horrible disease. Research, development and treatment has come a long way over the last 20 years and the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life events have been the frontrunner in funding to make that happen.

Wes Stamper,
Ceres Relay for Life Committee